January 2002 Archives
Developer: Holistic Design
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 4x CD ROM, 2 MB video card, 300 MB HD space
Merchant Prince II is a turn-based strategy and exploration game, that places up to 4 players in control of a merchant family in Renaissance Venice. Players can explore the world to establish profitable trade routes, or intervene in Venetian and Church politics to become the leading family and trading house in the world.
Developer: Strategy First
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 4x CD ROM, 200 MB HD space
Disciples Sacred Lands is a turn-based strategy game in which you play a military campaign as one of four warring races. Play either as the Empire (humans), the Legions of the Damned (demons), the Undead Horde (undead) or the Mountain Clan (dwarves). In single-player "saga" mode, the game consists of a series of missions broken up into chapters telling the story of the race chosen. Disciples has a fantasy setting and includes certain RPG elements such as units that "level" with experience. A multiplayer mode is available.
Developer: Shiny Entertainment
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 300 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 8 MB 3D video card, 650 MB HD space, 4x CD-ROM
Eldred had devoted himself to the study of the arcane in the world that birthed him, becoming a wizard of exceptional power. Experimenting in all manner of mystical arts, recent inquiries into the art of conjuration had ensnared him the Imp Zyzyx. Unfortunately, Eldred's magical exploits resulted in the destruction of his world, and left Eldred in the debt of an otherworldly power with less than the best of intentions. With the guidance of Zyzyx's the imp, Eldred was able to flee the carnage and transport himself to a new home.
Upon arrival, Eldred discovered a world in strife – torn apart by conflict between five warring gods, each with its own realm, worshipers, and styles of magic. Long ago, a portal to demonic realms splintered the land into a loosely packed set of floating islands, and fragmented the land's one divinity into five divine aspects. Persephone is a goddess whose claims to sponsoring peace and mercy are underlain by a vengeful style of justice. Her magic supports archetypes of nature and healing, and her minions are often woodland folk. James is deity of the earth, in favor of a safe and simple life. His magic, as well as the inhabitants of his realm, tend to be thick-skinned, with a penchant for flinging rocks. Stratos is god of the air and is possessed of an intellect only surpassed by his lack of humility. Pyro is god of fire, and not only claims the spheres of destruction and chaos as his own, but sees himself as a harbinger of progress and industry. Charnel is the god of strife, slaughter and death. His followers exhibit varying stages of decay, and he is quick to point out that without his existence as a counterpoint, joy and life would be meaningless.
Initially, Eldred sees the opportunity to tip the delicate balance between the gods in his own favor, but as the conflict progresses, it becomes clear that both old friends and old enemies have followed him. Eldred is not the only party manipulating the divine conflict that rages around him, and someone may be looking to collect on old debts.
Developer: Westwood Studios
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 200 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 2 MB video card, 300 MB HD space
A generation ago, the world of Nox ended thousands of years of conflict when the humans of the Southlands constructed the Staff of Oblivion and killed an entire race of Necromancers, sealing their very souls into a magical orb. This mystical binding served to prevent the return of the Necromancers, and the wave of destruction that would surely follow. The great mage Jandor, who led the armies of the humans, was sickened by the genocide, and in an act of pity, spared a baby girl named Hecubah. Hecubah was left in the care of Ogres. The orb was banished to another dimension, and the world lived in peace until Hecubah grew to adulthood.
Now, with a deep loathing of humanity, Hecubah intends to recover the orb, free her fellow necromancers, and rule the world of Nox. The orb found its way to a trailer park on Earth, where it sits proudly displayed above Jack's TV set. Jack only wants to enjoy a dinner of bacon with his girlfriend, but when Hecubah summons the orb back to Nox, Jack and his TV follow. Jack is the only being on Nox whose movements can not be traced by Hecubah, and as such, it is up to him to choose the path of Warrior, Conjurer or Wizard, reassemble the Staff of Oblivion, and save the world of Nox by defeating Hecubah.
Developer: Firaxis and Maxis
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 300 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 300 MB HD space, 4x CD ROM
In Sid Meier's Sim Golf, players are given the opportunity to build, manage, and play at golf resorts of their own designing. In standard mode, players begin with a small inheritance and an undeveloped patch of land. The goal is to build a resort, let your customizable golf pro play a few rounds for fun and money, hold professional golf tournaments, keep your club's members happy and challenged... and let the profits roll in. You have the option to build your resort in any of sixteen locations divided into four basic course types: tropical, desert, links (think Scotland) and Parklands (think American South). Once built, your courses may be saved in a file separate from the standard game so that you may play on the course anytime you like or even share your golf course with other people. Similarly, your golf pro, the player's avatar, is customizable and may be saved separately from the game in which he is created.
Developer: Half-Dead Spider Entertainment
Platform: Palm OS
Reviewed on Palm OS
Download it here
This game is derived from Larn and UltraLarn, two related flavors of ASCII dungeon hacks. (To the uninitiated, ASCII is the uniform character and spacing system defined by the American Standard Code for Information Interchange) iLarn is a dutiful, Palm OS version of these earlier games, in which the player searches underground dungeons and volcanoes for the legendary potion of cure dianthoritis, to save a sick daughter. Twisted hallways and caverns are represented only by #, while monsters are designated by the full array of letters, both upper and lower case. This game is very difficult to win, but dungeons are randomly generated, so each attempt is different.